Painter of the Week: Caravaggio. Today: Conversion of Saint Paul, 1601, Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.
Caravaggio. Conversion of Saint Paul, 1601, Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.
Caravaggio entered the household of Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte sometime in 1595. His biographer, the painter Baglione, says he “painted for the Cardinal youths playing music very well drawn from nature and also a youth playing a lute,” the latter presumably being The Lute Player, which seems to form a companion-piece to The Musicians. The picture shows four boys in quasi-Classical costume, three playing various musical instruments or singing, the fourth dressed as Cupid and reaching towards a bunch of grapes.The central figure with the lute has been identified as Caravaggio’s companion Mario Minniti, and the individual next to him and facing the viewer has been recognised as a self-portrait of the artist. The cupid bears a strong resemblance to the boy in Boy Peeling Fruit, done a few years before, and also to the angel in Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy.
Michelangelo Merisi or Amerighi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1592 (1595?) and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.